The first thing that hits you about Harry Lennix is the booming sound of his voice. It’s deep and comforting and sounds like God but not the “fire, hail, brimstone, hell bound” version of God. Rather, Lennix’s tonality makes you feel spiritually floaty and deeply connected to the mysteries of the cosmos. And then comes his laugh. It has the vibration that the 60s love songs were harping about, and somewhere, I think as I listen to his laughter taper off, a mountain was actually moved enough to smile.
The busy Lennix is back in New York City— “my second home”—to bring the heat as director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division on NBC’s hit show, “The Blacklist,” a show that he “loves” doing and one that has given him a comfortable financial status.
A well-respected man of the stage and screen, the Chicago native broke into film with the “The Package,” and some of his film credits include “The Five Heartbeats,” “Get on the Bus,” “Love & Basketball,” and “The Matrix Reloaded.” On the TV side, he has had many recurring roles on “ER,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “24” and “Dollhouse.”
In the film world, Lennix is a prolific producer with three movie projects already completed. As reported in Variety, along with his longtime partner, Steve Harris, he has formed Exponent Media and has inked a distribution deal for “H4,” which is a concert movie that will be shown through the Nehst Media’s Digiplex chain early next year. Under Exponent Media, his team will fund five more films, under the $1 million range, over the next three years.
The reason Lennix decided to start Exponent Media is simple: “I decided that I needed to take control,” the Chicago native told Variety.
On the film side he is excited about his gospel musical film about the ministry of Jesus Christ for the new millennium “Revival! The Experience,” which he co-wrote with Holly Carter.
Here is an excerpt from Part One of our interview with Lennix.
AmNews: The press materials for “Revival! The Experience” describe it as a musical motion picture event, which is about the gospel according to John the Apostle and stars singer/songwriter Mali Music as Jesus and you, actor/writer/producer, as Pontius Pilate.
HL: Well, “Revival! The Experience,” is a project that has lived in my heart for many years because it espouses a message of love and courage, something that can help comfort all of us as we process the chaos of daily life.
AmNews: Bible and music? In reading about the piece, which you co-wrote with Holly Carter she describes it, saying, “This project brings moments of the Bible alive in a way that is awe inspiring, entertaining and maybe even life changing. It offers an incredible biblical and musical experience for audiences yearning for more inspirational storytelling.”
HL: Music does make the world go ‘round, and we have contributions from 2015 double Grammy nominee Mali Music (Best Urban Contemporary Album for his debut, “Mali Is,” and Best Gospel), as well as music from legendary Chaka Khan (10-time Grammy winner) and Grammy winner Michelle Williams. Also we have Victoria Platt, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Noel Gugliemi, T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, Dawnn Lewis, Brely Evans, Obba Babatunde (Broadway’s “Dreamgirls”), Bob Wisdom and gospel superstar Bishop William Murphy III.
AmNews: Wow! The angels and the heavenly chorus might feel a bit jealous. How would you describe “Revival! The Experience?”
HL: I will describe it like this: It’s a stage, screen and music video working together seamlessly to recapture the spiritual imagination in an age of chaos. “Revival!” blends traditional and 21st century gospel music. It is a fantasia of vibrant visuals, powerhouse vocals and an innovative approach to the greatest story ever told. The primary source for “Revival!” is the Gospel of John, but you’ve never seen it told like this.
Next week, Part Two with Harry Lennix.